First, watch this:
Then watch this:
And now read this:
I lost count of the number of people who wrote, Tweeted, or commented on my Facebook page last week in order to ask for a candid response to all of this. Here's a random sampling of my thoughts:
- I don't know (nor do I care) if Perry Noble is "lying" in that second clip. He could indeed merely be making the argument that the first clip doesn't actually tell the full story. I wouldn't (and didn't) accuse him of lying.
- But frankly, whether he lied or not strikes me as the most trivial of all the questions those two video clips raise. Stop and listen to what Perry Noble is saying! If he is indeed telling the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth, the admission he makes in that first video is every bit as ugly and outrageous as a lie. Here's a man who is supposed to be a shepherd to the flock of God, arrogantly boasting that he looks for ways to anger and offend Christians who are more conservative than he is. He hits on a particularly offensive idea. In this case, it's a stunt so carnal he doesn't even bother to argue that it has any redeeming spiritual value. Then he and his elders "pray" together to "seek the Lord's direction" about it—and decide to go ahead and do it? Yikes. If that doesn't offend every synapse in your brain, you must be devoid of love for Christ's church.
- If James MacDonald thinks the big problem with Noble's statement was the "contradiction," and if he is more troubled by the critics' "tone" than he is by Perry Noble's swaggering self-congratulation, then MacDonald is not going to be a very helpful mentor to Perry Noble.
- I'll say again: the public "mentoring" of bad-boy pastors by men who have earned a degree of respectability is a Really Bad Idea. If you're a famous pastor who truly wants to be a help to a young foul-mouthed narcissist rock-star pastor, it would be better to do it privately and withhold your public affirmations of the punk pastor until he gains enough maturity to actually meet the biblical requirements for eldership.
- Several people on Twitter and Facebook suggested that the "Perry Noble Lied" accusation is the exact equivalent of the agnostic's charge that the New Testament contradicts itself. (James McDonald likewise strongly hinted at that argument, likening the two video clips above to "many passages of Scripture that need to be reconciled.") Seriously? Am I the only one who thinks it cheapens the authority of Scripture to suggest that a harmony of Matthew 28:10 and Luke 24:49 is a problem of the same order as the question of whether Perry Noble "sit[s] around trying to [tick] people off" or not?
- All the word-play and energy that has been put into defending Noble feels like a bad caricature concocted to demonstrate everything that's wrong with postmodernism. Someone who raises no objection when a egomaniacal pastor boasts about looking for ways to offend and irritate other Christians has no moral ground to complain about the "tone" or biases of those who are offended. But the postmodernist spends hours attacking them anyway, exegeting the mischief-loving fellow's braggadocio, making useless arguments about words, in order to defend the honor of the guy who admitted that from the very start his main intention was to offend?
- What we have here is proof of how pathological the cults of personality among young evangelicals have become.
- Finally, for those working so hard to reconcile the Perry Noble of the Elephant Room with the self-satisfied scoundrel in the first video above, here's the question you need to ask yourselves: Once we have "reconciled" the statements made in the two clips, what kind of fruit are we left with?